The City as a Human Environment

By Duane G. Levine; Arthur C. Upton | Go to book overview

2
AFFORDABLE BY DESIGN
ZANE YOSTIn the spring of 1988, the National Housing Task Force released a report on America's housing crisis. Entitled "A Decent Place to Live," it detailed these troubling facts:
1. Throughout the 1980s, rents and housing costs for low- and moderate-income families have been increasing while real income has been decreasing.
2. The national rate of home ownership has steadily declined, reversing a forty- year trend.
3. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has reduced funding new housing by 80 percent.

Throughout the Northeast, California, and other localized markets, inflated land prices, no-growth zoning, and skyrocketing appreciation have created a gap between income and housing cost. A growing number of people, from first-time buyers to modest-income renters, cannot afford the housing they want.

According to figures from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, there has been a dramatic 7 to 8 percent drop in home ownership in the twenty-four to thirty-nine year old age group. This means that two million households who would have been able to buy a house or apartment in 1980 cannot afford to do so today. The first rung of the ladder of home ownership has been removed for the traditional first-time buyer. This in turn restrains current owners from moving up. Even more critical, low-income rents and moderate-income buyer

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